Hispanic / Latino

Statement by Joe Garcia on Castro and Cuba

Contact: Joe Garcia, NDN

Statement from Joe Garcia, former head of the Cuban American National Foundation and an expert on Cuba issues, on the current situation in Cuba

The current situation in Cuba could be the beginning of a tremendous opportunity for the Cuban people as the world anticipates the end of Fidel Castro's oppressive rule. We should proceed with cautious optimism about the possibilities in store not only for the people of Cuba but also of the Cuban exile community who have long awaited a moment like this. A transition to a democratic Cuba will not only greatly benefit the Cuban people but also will help provide much needed long-term stability for all of Latin America.

NDN in the News

Joe Garcia, Director of NDN's Hispanic Strategy Center, is in the New York Times today discussing Fidel Castro temporarily ceding power to his brother Raúl Castro:

“Obviously something has happened,” said Joe Garcia, a political strategist for Democrats and the former executive director of the Cuban American National Foundation, the largest exile group. “This is a guy who, the last time he went into surgery that we know of, made a point of saying he had no general anesthesia and was on his cellphone giving orders the whole time. He was unwilling to cede the stage at all. That he did so now in such a dramatic fashion implies something big.”


NDN in the News

NDN's Joe Garcia is in the Miami Herald today discussing President Bush's sinking approval rating among hispanics

''He's looking for reassurances, his numbers are down everywhere,'' said Joe Garcia, director of NDN's Hispanic Strategy Center and former executive director of the Cuban American National Foundation. ``George Bush's mismanagement of the immigration issue has angered their base and the Hispanics they spent so much time cultivating. Clearly they are trying to reconnect with a group they've lost standing with.''

Broder writes about our poll in his nationally syndicated column today

Even Republican Senator Mel Martinez agrees with our findings - the Republicans have been very seriously damaged in the Hispanic community this year. 

You can read his important column here.  For more on our poll visit www.ndn.org/hispanic

1 in 5 Bloggers are Hispanic

NDN ran two terrific events in the last two days, one on our Hispanic poll, the other on the New Politics Institute's technology work. Cutting edge tech and grassroots Latino politics. Distinct areas, right? Wrong. Becuase you did read the title of this post right. According to yesterday's Pew Blogging Study, 19% of all bloggers are (english speaking) Hispanics. Given how much i know people reading this love it when I try to show off my child-like statistical abilities, i'm only happy to oblige. We have 147 million Americans are online, of whom 8%, or 12 million, blog. 19% of bloggers are hispanics, which comes out as 2.28 million. This is from a total universe of Hispanic internet users of 16m. To put this another way, the ratio of white bloggers to total internet users is 15:1. The ration for hispanics is 7:1, more than twice as many. Even more strikingly, the number of hispanic bloggers is almost double the number of African Americans, despite there being roughly the same numbers of African Americans and Hispanics in the country.

What explains this? It might be an error. The poll sample on the bloggers is small giving a larger than usual error range of +/-7%. But even this means that we can be pretty sure that the true number is between 1.4m and 3.12m. My hunch is that that online hispanics - being a smaller group of the total population of hispanics compared to whites - are disproportionately younger, and wealthier than the group average, factors likely to be associated with having enough money to own a computer and actually know how to use it. Despite the fact the Hispanics are, on average, less wealthy than white Americans, at present those on line must be more blog-friendly on average than white Americans. And youth must have a lot to do with this. Come what may, if these figures are even remotely correct, it means that Hispanics are the most blog rich demographic group in America. I'm going to write to the poll people are see what their hunch is. More anon.

UPDATE - Amanda Lenhart, the author at PEW, writes back in double quick time. Thanks Adanda. Turns out my hunch was not too far off the mark.  More predictably, i goofed on some of the stats, but we'll gloss over that. Lets leave it to the experts:

"As you may have noticed, the sample for this survey is quite small (n=233) which limits the kind of analysis we can do of the data. However, our hunch is that bloggers are more diverse than internet users because they are overwhelmingly young (54% of bloggers are 18-29, compared to 24% of adult internet users), and work by the Census bureau suggests that younger Americans are a more diverse cohort than old Americans – due to birth rates and immigration. (see this USAToday article for a quick overview and a nice chart: http://www.usatoday.com/educate/college/careers/Hot/6-9-05b.htm ) While we can’t analyze our data to show causation, I believe that the age of bloggers at least partly explains the diversity of the group."


New NDN Political Fund poll of Hispanics shows Bush and GOP in dramatic decline

In a new national poll of Spanish-language dominant Hispanic voters, NDN’s Hispanic Strategy Center has found that the standing of President Bush and Republicans has dramatically declined with these critical swing voters, potentially wiping out Republican gains made during the Bush years.

While Republicans have suffered a great loss in their standing with this important electorate, Democrats have made only modest gains and though well-liked are not well defined. To take advantage of this new opening, Democrats will need to invest resources to better define themselves to an electorate very open to hearing from them.

Additionally, the poll offers clear evidence that the immigration debate has increased this community’s participation in the civic life of their nation. More than half of those questioned say the issue will make it more likely that they will vote this year. A remarkable 25% of those surveyed state that they have taken part in recent public demonstrations for better immigration policies. It appears that millions of Hispanics are rising to the “today we march, tomorrow we vote” challenge.

You can read the poll release memo here, and view the complete poll presentation here.

  • Key Finding 1: Hispanics are disappointed with Bush and unhappy with Republican government. Recent electoral gains made by Bush in this community have been wiped out.
    • In the 2004 cycle, Bush regularly received a 60% favorable rating from Hispanics. In our survey this was reversed, as 38% see him favorably, 58% unfavorably, with 40% very unfavorable. When asked how they would vote if the Presidential election were held today, this group gives Democrats a remarkable 36-point advantage (59% - 23%). For Republicans this is a dramatic drop from the 52% - 48% Kerry-Bush result with the Spanish-speaking sub-group in 2004.
  • Key Finding 2: While making modest gains, Democrats have a lot of work to do.
    • On issue after issue Democrats performed far better than Republicans. However, Democrats regularly underperformed their 59% electoral performance and 65% Party favorability. This indicates that while Democrats are well regarded by this electorate, they are not well defined
  • Key Finding 3: The immigration debate has had a tremendous impact with these voters, and will increase their turnout this fall.
    • In a remarkable show of civic participation, 25% of respondents say they participated in a recent rally or demonstration for a better immigration policy. 54% of all those surveyed say they are more likely to vote this fall because of the debate
  • Key Finding 4: Most Hispanics believe that it is harder to get ahead.
    • Consistent with national data showing median income decline and wages stagnant; rising health care, energy and education costs; and the erosion of the purchasing power of the minimum wage, most Hispanics – an extraordinary 86% - say the cost of living has increased
  • Key Finding 5: Despite the perception that discrimination against Hispanics is widespread, Hispanics overwhelmingly believe there are greater opportunities here than in Latin America.
    • Even though 75% of respondents say that there is discrimination against Hispanics in the US, 91% believe there is much greater opportunity here than in Latin America.

  • Key Finding 6: Soccer – futbol - is a powerful way to reach Hispanics.
    • A remarkable 74% said they planned to watch some of the tournament on TV, with 41% saying they were attempting to follow all or almost all of the games. Few events in any culture command this kind of universal and intense appeal.

"Today we March..."

"...tomorrow we vote" was the phrase chanted by many protesters for sane immigration reform this year. A good story on the beginnings of this promise being realized from this Reuters News story:

"Two Latino radio hosts credited for mobilizing hundreds of thousands this year in pro-immigrant protests said on Friday they would join the drive to increase the Hispanic and immigrant vote in the 2008 U.S. presidential election."

Los Angeles disc jockeys Piolin (Tweetybird) and El Cucuy (the Bogeyman) said they will work with the National Council of La Raza and other organizations to push Latino immigrants living in the United States to become U.S. citizens and register to vote in time to cast ballots in 2008....

An estimated 8 million Latinos are legal residents in the United States who qualify for naturalization as U.S. citizens, including 3 million in California alone, activists said.

National Council of La Raza president Janet Murguia said Spanish-language radio DJs could help add at least another 3 million Latino voters to the 7.5 million who cast ballots in 2004, helping to elect more pro-immigration politicians.


Morning Roundup

The news this morning is full of stories about Mexico and the border.  With the Mexican election now officially in dispute, the attention the immigration debate in this country will get - and its salience in the fall election - will continue to grow. 

To me how America responds to the immigration challenge says a great deal about what kind of nation we want to become in the 21st century.  I'm proud of Harry Reid and the Democrats for not taking the easy enforcement-first road.  We've stuck to our guns, and argued that to solve the problem we need a comprehensive approach - tougher border enforcement, tougher sanctions on US employers of undocumenteds, a modest guest worker program and an earned path to citizenship that puts the undocumenteds at the end of the current immigration line.  Many Republicans, including the President and John McCain, agree with this thoughtful approach.  Today's Post has a good editorial re-iterating their support for this path. 

But the Republican House doesn't agree with this sensible path forward.  They've passed a bill calling for the arrest and deportation of the 11-12 million undocumenteds living here.  And now they are openly working to undermine the broad bi-partisan Senate consensus around comprehensive immigration reform by moving only a piece of the plan, tougher border enforcement. 

Democrats have stood firm and offered a plan to solve a vexing national challenge.  The Republicans are offering a plan to solve their own vexing internal political problems.  But this should come as no suprize, as little the Republicans have done since they came to power in 1994 has been about effectively solving problems or meeting the new challenges of the emerging century.  Think deficits, Katrina, Iraq, shorting of funds for education, no action on pensions, health care and energy costs, no conversation or strategy about declining wages, rampant warantless spying on private American citizens.  As a spent and failed governing party, the Republicans are doing the only thing they are good at - playing politics, and focusing on staying in power.  While benefiting them, this approach is not helping America effectively understand or tackle the challenges of our time.  For the majority party it has all become about them and their needs, and not about us, the America people or the country. 

That's why this immigration battle matters so much.  It is a test of whether we still have the capacity to tackle important challenges.  That's why NDN has worked so hard on this issue - in an unprecedented bi-partisan coalition - for the past year.  It is a test of the governing party's capacity to do what is right for us, and not for them.  And of course as of today they are failing this test in a dramatic and disapointing fashion. 

The likely next President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon, at his first news conference yesterday criticized the militarization of our common, peaceful border and pledged to find a better way.  The lead anti-immigrant spokesman, Republican Tom Tancredo, fired back that his comments were "insulting." 

Man is this country ready for a new politics. 

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